Feather Brook Farm’s free-range chickens pack the flavor and body-integrity needed to handle the confit treatment. A great technique to have up your sleeve if you are ever lucky enough to get ducks or geese from a local farmer.
For the confit
- 4 whole chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), approximately 4 to 4½ pounds
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 2½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 2 quarts duck, goose, or chicken fat
Pat chicken dry. Mix together pepper, salt, garlic, and thyme, and rub into every surface of the chicken. Pack into a covered container and chill for 12 to 18 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Select a deep oven-proof pot big enough to hold all the ingredients at once, and use it to warm the fat over medium-low heat. When the fat is entirely melted, add the chicken parts, first patting them dry with paper towels. All the chicken should be entirely submerged. Bake for 8 to 12 hours.
The confit is now ready to use right away or to store in the fridge for up to three months. For the latter option, use tongs to remove the chicken parts to a lidded storage container (like a large jar or crock), then ladle over the slightly cooled pure liquid fat, making sure the meat is entirely encased and covered. Refrigerate when cool. You can excavate one or two pieces at a time for your hash needs (or as a base for some knockout bean and vegetable dishes)—just be sure that you fill in the gaps with a layer of melted fat and leave the remaining confit entirely covered.
For the hash
Cream, Etc. starts with potatoes from Norwell Farms, Lipinski Farm or Stillman Farms, and they parbake and deep-fry them for their hash.
Here’s a home cook’s adaptation.
- 3 to 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons fat from the confit crock
- 1 confit chicken leg (thigh and drumstick)
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- a few sprigs fresh thyme and parsley, minced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, slide in a large baking pan to heat up. Cut potatoes into appropriate dice for home fries, and toss in a large bowl with the oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Scrape into hot pan and shake to distribute. Roast potatoes, flipping and shaking after 15 minutes, until tender inside, and golden outside, about 30 minutes.
Heat a deep wide heavy pan over medium heat. Add the confit fat, and when it melts, add the confit chicken, skin side down. Cook until chicken is lightly brown and crisp (10 to 12 minutes), only turning once. Retrieve the chicken with tongs (leaving the fat in the pan) and set aside for a few minutes. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull meat from bones and hand (or fork) shred. Meanwhile add the shallot to the fat in the pan you just cooked the confit in. Cook over medium heat until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the roasted potatoes and garlic, and stir it all together using a spatula to break up potatoes a bit. Add the shredded confit and the herbs, and correct the salt and pepper. Serve on warmed plates topped with poached eggs.
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